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Evacuation order issued after train carrying octane derails in Alberta

Last Updated Sep 2, 2019 at 4:38 pm EDT

Train cars carrying octane derailed in the village of Barons, Alberta Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. The TSB is investigating. HANDOUT/Chris DiPasquale

An evacuation order has been issued near Lethbridge, Alta., after a train derailed on Monday morning and began to leak.

A statement from the provincial government says the rail cars were leaking octane in Barons, Alta.

It says an evacuation order has been issued for the area of Highway 23 and Township Road 120, including Keho Lake, the nearby campgrounds and the local golf course.

Canadian Pacific Railway says the train derailed at Hwy. 23 and Township Rd. 12, just south of the village of Barons in the County of Lethbridge at 7:40 a.m. and a team has been sent to the scene.

 

A reception centre for displaced persons has been set up at the Nobleford Community Complex at 122 Kipp Street in Nobleford. County officials are warning people not to go back to their homes, campsites, or golf rounds until the evacuation order has been lifted.

Local resident Chris DiPasquale drove past the train derailment.

“There was one car on the ground, then another and another. There was a whole middle section of the train that looked like it was just utterly destroyed,” said DiPasquale, who is from Lethbridge and is on his way to Edmonton. “It looked like something out of a movie. I was just in shock.”

“The devastation of all those cars was pretty incredible,” added DiPasquale. “It took quite some time before I saw some police and whatnot coming towards it. A good half hour, 40 minutes. So it must’ve just happened [when I saw it].”

Two of the three leaking rail cars have now been contained, according to county reeve Lorne Hickey. He says there’s a handful of area fire crews and other emergency departments helping contain the leak.

“They’re working to get the third one exposed because there are other cars on top of it so they’re using some heavy equipment to lift off the other cars to get to this one that’s still leaking,” he said, adding that there’s no word yet as to how many people are affected by the mandatory evacuation.

Alberta Health Services has a public health inspector on scene, but the agency says there have been no injuries reported as a result of the derailment so far.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has also deployed a team of investigators to the scene.

The county is asking people to stay away from the area.

With files from The Canadian Press